Sweet and sassy or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences our daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. Somewhere between the exhilarating rise of Girl Power in the 1990s and today, the pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as the source of female empowerment. And commercialization has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages. But how dangerous is pink and pretty, anyway? Being a princess is just make-believe; eventually they grow out of it . . . or do they?
In search of answers, Peggy Orenstein visited Disneyland, trolled American Girl Place, and met parents of beauty-pageant preschoolers tricked out like Vegas showgirls. The stakes turn out to be higher than she ever imagined. From premature sexualization to the risk of depression to rising rates of narcissism, the potential negative impact of this new girlie-girl culture is undeniable—yet armed with awareness and recognition, parents can effectively counterbalance its influence in their daughters’ lives.
About Peggy Orenstein
When I first signed up for this tour, the one thing that caught my eye was the fact that Orenstein explores or attempts to explore the impact that girlie-girl culture is having on our children.
Having a 12, almost 13 year old daughter, I definitely wanted to read about the author's experiences and see if they meshed with mine......they did and they didn't, I guess I'm sort of in between.
I will say right off the bat and I don't want to insult, hurt or upset anyone, but just give MY opinion. I don't like little girl beauty pageants, I will say I don't like BIG girl beauty pageants either but my foot really comes down when it comes to the little girls, I just don't like it. I won't get into the why's here, again like I said it's my opinion and that's all.
But in this book I appreciate the fact that Orenstein looks at these pageants and sort of has the same reaction I do, but she also looks at the other side, the parents involved in entering their girls, I appreciate that she gives them a voice too.
Being a mother of a daughter in this day and age is not easy, matter of fact it is incredibly hard to try and shelter or block her from the things that I don't want her to see or hear. We live in a very sexual oriented world, and unfortunately the "sex sells" phrase is thrown around like rice at a newlywed couple. I don't like it and it gets harder and harder to try and raise your children the way you want them to with all these outside influences.
Orenstein tackles all these issues as she records her own experiences and struggles to raise her daughter in this "princess stage".
I didn't agree with some of the things she wrote about, and then I wholeheartedly agreed with others.
It just boils down to one thing and one thing alone, US as parents. I may not like the things I see in society, I may not agree with things said on TV or in books, I may not like certain clothing items, but it comes down to me and my husband and the relationship we have with our daughter. We love her, we give her the freedom to be independent while helping her understand that certain things are not good, not becoming, not healthy. Never in a humiliating way, never in an accusatory tone, but in a loving and understanding way.
We give her the tools, we give her the information and we hope she makes the right decisions. One thing is perfectly clear to me after reading this book, we are all parents, we are doing the best we can and it's up to us to be vigilant.
Peggy Orenstein ends the book with a very powerful quote....
“The good news is, the choices we make for our toddlers can influence how they navigate as teens. I’m not saying we can, or will, do everything “right”, only that there is power – magic- in awareness. If we start with that, with wanting girls to see themselves from the inside out rather than the outside in, we will go a long way toward helping them find their true happily-ever-afters.”
I can't recommend this book enough, if you are a mom of a daughter who is 12 years old and younger, this is must read. You may not agree with every single thing that the author has to say but it does open up a lot of questions and thoughts as to how our girls are being raised. :)
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a review copy. If you want to check out the rest of the tour, here are the next stops: